A windier future

According to the European Wind Energy Association, wind power capacity in the EU increased by 23% last year to 28,401 megawatts.

According to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), wind power capacity in the EU increased by 23% last year to 28,401 megawatts (MW). Germany (2,645 MW) and Spain (1,377 MW) continued to dominate the market, while Austria (276 MW) appeared among the top three European markets for the first time, followed by Denmark (243 MW).

‘Wind energy continues to expand in Europe, but at the moment it is only a three-member state story. We face maturing markets in the three leading countries Germany, Spain and Denmark which account for 84% of the total wind power capacity installed in EU-15 by the end of 2003. These figures highlight a weakness in the market that needs to be corrected,’ said Corin Millais, EWEA Chief Executive.

The 28,401MW installed in the EU-15 by the end of 2003 will, in an average wind year, produce 60TWh of electricity equal to approximately 2.4% of total EU electricity consumption. The installed wind power capacity would provide the equivalent electricity needs of 14 million average European households, or 35 million citizens.

The 5,381 MW installed in 2003, however, is 9% lower than in 2002 (5.898 MW).

‘The decline is mostly due to the decline in Germany,’ said Millais.

In the US, nearly 1,700 megawatts (MW) of new wind electric generating capacity – enough to serve approximately 425,000 average homes – were installed according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

The trade group said 2003 was very close to the best year ever in the US in terms of installed capacity, with 1,687 MW of new wind power constructed, topped only by the 1,696 MW installed in 2001. Current installed capacity in the US is now over 6,370 MW, with utility-scale wind turbines installed in 30 states.

Over the last five years, US wind capacity has expanded at an annual average rate of 28%, and preliminary indications are that 2003 continued the pattern of wind being the fastest-growing electricity source in the world on a percentage basis.